15-year-old to get �1.3m payout from NHS

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy who cannot walk or speak after he suffered brain damage at birth has been awarded �1.35 million in compensation from an Essex health trust.

Roddy Ashworth

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy who cannot walk or speak after he suffered brain damage at birth has been awarded �1.35 million in compensation from an Essex health trust.

Toby Wheeler suffered from a lack of oxygen during his delivery at Colchester General Hospital in August 1994.

The cash was awarded at a High Court compensation hearing from the Colchester University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, formerly the Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust.

The court heard that Toby Wheeler now requires 24-hour-care as a result of the problems at his birth, in which he suffered a lack of oxygen in the 25 minutes before being born.

The judge was told that if medics had identified the problem earlier, and subsequently delivered him in a different way, he would have not suffered any brain damage.

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Instead, he needed emergency resuscitation in the immediate aftermath of the birth and was later diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

As well as the lump sum of �1.35million, Toby Wheeler, of Colchester, will receive a number of payments to help cover the cost of his care in forthcoming years.

Court reports said the teenager is unable to sit up on his own and is totally dependent on others.

A trust spokesman said yesterday: “Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust is pleased to note that the Court has approved the settlement which was agreed between the parties for the benefit of Toby Wheeler.

“The Trust recognises the devoted care which has been given to Toby by his family over the years and we extend our very best wishes to them for the future.”

The spokesman added that procedures had changed since Toby Wheeler's birth.

“Medicine has made great advances over the past 15 years and, across the NHS, policies and procedures have improved significantly since Toby was born.”

He added: “Patient safety is currently the No.1 priority for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

“In the performance ratings for 2008/09 published earlier this month by the Care Quality Commission, we achieved top marks - 14 out of 14 - for 'safety and cleanliness' and last month were one of just 23 NHS organisations - and the only one in Essex - to be presented with a certificate of recognition for our work in putting patient safety first.”

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